They gave their lives for our freedom

I was born many years after WWII but it is because of those brave men who gave their lives I was born a free man.

NEVER FORGET THE REAL HEROES WHO SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES FOR OURS.

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The Fallen 9000 Sand Project by Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss

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Two men-One name-Two fates

What’s in a name? Usually not much really but sometimes it can be everything. It can even be the difference of life and death.

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In this case the name Jean Stephan, both men were members of the French resistance but their lives had completely different outcomes.

Jean Stéphan was  a French resistant born October 28, 1912 in Rennes and shot on April 13, 1942 at Mont Valérien

During  the German  occupation, he became involved in the Resistance. He joined the Secret Organization (OS) French Francs-tireurs and partisans and took part in the local organization of the National Front, he was put in charge of a sector including Neuilly-Plaisance, Noisy-le-Grand and Gagny. They carried out various acts of sabotage (fire of enemy equipment at Gonesse and Vincennes in 1941, etc.).

On March 21, 1942, he was arrested, as he left the Ville-Évrard hospital where he worked as a nurse, and discovered leaflets of Resistance.

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He was then handed over to the Gestapo and shot a few days later at Mont Valérien.
Mont-Valerien 2011 © Jacques ROBERT
Jean Francois Marie Stephan, born 27 December 1916.
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Another member of the French resistance ,who had been with the Parisien Police, he was stripped from his rank in the Police because of his involvement with the resistance. However he eluded capture by the Germans and Vichy authorities.
The poster above is his “wanted” posted.He was  a member of the resistance in le Maquis du Vercors

He had a very high  place in the resistance because of the position he’d held with the Police. His resistance code name was “Daniel” he is mentioned in the book “Le Soufflet de Forge”
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He survived the war and  he was re-instated to  the french police and nearly got a far as commissioner.he was stationed at 36 Quai des orfèvres in Paris .
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He lived to tell the tale,until the age of 80

Last words of Martin Zellermayer

43.-zellermayer002A planned sea crossing on 21 March 1942 of the  Austrian born Jewish Engelandvaarder (Lit. England-farer) Carl Martin Zellermayer and eight others failed because they were betrayed. In the ferry boss’ house in the Dutch harbour village of Simonshaven they awaited nightfall. Once it was dark, they could embark on their journey to England. But before that happened, the Germans surrounded the house and arrested the would-be Engelandvaarders.

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Zellermayer was executed by the Germans on 15 August 1942. A few hours before his sentence was to be carried out he wrote this letter to his fiancée Annie Koningsbrugge.

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His farewell letter begins: ‘I was just informed that my death sentence is confirmed and will be carried out this very afternoon at ½ 3. So I have just 4½ hours to live and then I must die.”

Below is a picture of the death notification of Carl Martin Zellermayer in the  Jewish weekly newspaper, which ran from the 11th of April until the 28th of September of 1943 by the Jewish council in the Netherlands but was under censorship by the German occupiers.

I don’t know what happened to the brother of Martin Zellermayer ,who placed the notification on the 19th of August 1942.

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Himmler’s speech- a warped ideology

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Heinrich Himmler, in charge of implementing the Nazi’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” gave an infamous speech to one hundred SS men on October 4, 1943 (in a Polish town called Posen). As direct as anyone could possibly be on the issue, Himmler defined “evacuation” as “Ausrottung.” That word, in English, means “extermination

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Below are some excerpts from that speech. It is a clear indication on how warped the Nazi ideology was.

(Original transcript in German.)

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“Whether the other races live in comfort or perish of hunger interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our culture; apart from that it does not interest me. Whether or not 10,000 Russian women collapse from exhaustion while digging a tank ditch interests me only in so far as the tank ditch is completed for Germany.”146193

“We shall never be rough or heartless where it is not necessary; that is clear. We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude to animals, will also adopt a decent attitude to these human animals”

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“I shall speak to you here with all frankness of a very serious subject. We shall now discuss it absolutely openly among ourselves, nevertheless we shall never speak of it in public. I mean the evacuation of the Jews, the extermination of the Jewish race.”

(Himmler’s handwritten speech notes showing the term “Judenevakuierung” meaningevacuation of the Jews.)note

 

“And then they all come along, the eighty million good Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. Of course the others are swine, but this one is a first-class Jew. (some laughter) Of all those who talk like this, not one has watched, not one has stood up to it. Most of you know what it means to see a hundred corpses lying together, five hundred, or a thousand. To have gone through this and yet – apart from a few exceptions, examples of human weakness – to have remained decent fellows, this is what has made us hard. This is a glorious page in our history that has never been written and shall never be written.”

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“It is one of those things which is easy to say. ‘The Jewish race is to be exterminated,’ says every Party member. ‘That’s clear, it’s part of our program, elimination of the Jews, extermination, right, we’ll do it.”

 

 

Han en Willem Peteri WWII Canoe journey to England

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During the war around 1700 Dutch men and women who tried to reach freedom in England, over land or by sea, were given the honorary name: Engelandvaarders (Lit. England-farers). They hoped to actively take part in the Allied struggle against the Germans. Two brothers, Han and Willem Peteri, managed to escape from the occupied Netherlands in this canoe.

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On 19 September 1941, in the pitch darkness, they pushed their canoe into the North Sea near the Dutch town of Katwijk.

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It almost went wrong: in the breaking waves the canoe filled with water. But they remained calm, emptied the canoe and embarked on the crossing – with only one compass aboard. After fifty-six hours of paddling they arrived on the beach in the small village of Sizewall England. Han joined the Dutch Marines and Willem enlisted in the British Navy. Both survived the war.

 

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Of the thirty-two people who embarked on this dangerous crossing by canoe, the information available indicates that only eight made it to England. Some drowned; others were intercepted by the German patrols. Such as the Engelandvaarder Dick van Swaay who was found in May 1942 on the beach with a noose around his neck

WWII Newspaper ads,articles and pictures

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This is just a picture blog of random ads ads and pictures which appeared in newspapers during WWII.

In this image provided by the Army Press Relations, although Colonel Floyd E. Dunn, Sioux City, Iowa knows his jungle warfare, when it comes to the tenor saxophone, he gives in to the expert coaching of band leader Corporal Leon D. Weills of West Sommerville, Massachusetts. It all came about when musical-minded GI’s of the Americal division decided to entertain men on the fighting outposts in the South Pacific with probing jive on Oct. 14, 1944. With instruments provided by the Special Service Office, the combat soldiers journeyed through 5000 yards of jungle to put on the show. From left to right the men are: Front row – Pvt. Robert A. Silverdrist, Chicago, Ill.; Cpl. Leon D. Wells, West Sommerville, Mass.; Col. Floyd E. Dunn, Sioux City, Iowa; Pvt. Erric V. Carlson, Tanana, Alaska; Pfc. Harold D. Fisher, Youngstown, Ohio; Pvt. George Zito, Los Angeles, Calif.; Pvt. Perry T. Austin, Kenniwick, Wash.; row two – Pfc. Ben A. Cuatto, Salt Lake City, Utah; Pvt. Ralph C. Kagle, Fornfelt, Mo.; Pfc. Jack A. Davis, Lampeer, Mich.; William D. Holland, South Buro, Mass.; Cpl. Arthur J. Rauhala, Painsville, Ohio; and Pvt. William D. Cribley, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; Drummer – Pvt. James E. Pabilla, Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Army Press Relations)

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Seen here is an army troop at Camp Douglas near Salt Lake City in December 1942. (AP Photo)

Military Recreation

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British Royal Navy Recruiting Poster Print 1940

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Imagined German Intelligence Officer thanks British Forces for giving away details of operations.

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The Crossfield family during WWII

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The Gloucester Citizen announces the start of WW2

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WWII Coke Ad illustration Soldier

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The Pilot (Southern Pines, N.C.), October 27, 1944

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Was April 20th 1889, the worst day in history?

Adolf Hitler, Kinderbild

The above picture is of a young child, still a baby. This boy was born on 20 April 1889, and although you wouldn’t think so from this picture, but this baby boy later became responsible for the deaths of millions.

You see this little boy is Adolf Hitler.

There is a questions which is often posed in psychology to determine if you are a psychopath. The question is “If you could travel back in time to April 20 1889. would you kill the infant Hitler?

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I don’t think the stars could have predicted what this infant would do in later life.

Hitler’s father Alois Hitler was the illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. Alois was born in 1837 but the baptismal register did not show his father’s name. So, initially, Alois bore his mother’s surname, Schicklgruber. Johann Georg Hiedler married Maria Anna in 1842.

Maria Anna died in 1847 and Alois changed his baptismal register in 1876 by recording Georg Hitler (Johann Georg Hiedler) as his father. Thus he assumed the surname Hitler which is also spelled as Hiedler, Huettler or Hüttler. Hitler surname is presumably based on ‘one who lives in a hut’.

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Hitler had 7 siblings, 3 of which died when they were still children.

For 36 years he was an Austrian citizen, for  nearly 7 years he was stateless. He only had the German nationality for 13 years.

What if something would have happened to him at birth on that 20th of April 1889? How different would the world have been?

I do think that 20 April 1889 may just have been the worst day in history.

 

 

 

Leo Lichten-WWII Hero,Killed in Action.

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Leo was born on May 31, 1925, in Manhattan to Max and Mollie Lichten. He grew up in Brooklyn, and was described by his best buddy Paul as a “very noble, intelligent and courageous person.” He even saved Paul from drowning once when they were kids. A best buddy indeed.

 

Pfc Leo Lichten entered the service in New York.City, New York on 11 August 1943.

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Leo’s company, Company A, is ordered on Nov. 20, 1944, to attack pillboxes (small bunkers) just outside Prummern to eliminate the enemy resistance in the small German town.

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The weather was cold and rainy, and the ground was muddy, making the battle even more difficult than it might otherwise have been. Leo storms one of the pillboxes, but is killed by machine gun fire early in the fighting.

He was laid to rest in the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, along with 8,300 fellow US soldiers and the names of 1,700 other who went missing in action.

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Ebensee concentration camp

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The Ebensee concentration camp was established by the SS to build tunnels for armaments storage near the town of Ebensee, Austria, in 1943. It was part of the Mauthausen network.

Due to the inhumane working and living conditions, Ebensee was one of the worst Nazi concentration camps for the death rates of its prisoners. The SS used several codenames Kalk (English: limestone), Kalksteinbergwerk (English: limestone mine), Solvay and Zement (English: cement) to conceal the true nature of the camp.

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The construction of the Ebensee subcamp began late in 1943, and the first 1,000 prisoners arrived on November 18, 1943, from the main camp of Mauthausen and its subcamps. The main purpose of Ebensee was to provide slave labor for the construction of enormous underground tunnels in which armament works were to be housed. These tunnels were planned for the evacuated Peenemünde V-2 rocket development but, on July 6, 1944, Hitler ordered the complex converted to a tank-gear factory.

After rising at 4:30 A.M. the prisoners dug away at the tunnels until 6 P.M. After some months work was done in shifts 24 hours a day. There was nearly no accomodation to protect the first batch of prisoners from the cold Austrian winter. Thus the death toll increased astronomically. Bodies were piled in heaps and every 3-4 days they were taken to the Mauthausen crematorium to be burned.

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Ebensee did not yet have its own crematorium. The dead were also piled inside the few huts that existed. The smell of the dead, combined with sickness, phlegmon, urine and faeces, was unbearable. The prisoners wore wooden clogs. When the clogs fell apart the prisoners had to go barefoot. Due to this total ill treatment combined with food allocations consisting of , in the morning: half a liter of ersatz coffee, at noon three-quarters of a liter of hot water containing potato peelings, in the evening 150 grams of bread, the death toll continued to rise. Soon lice infested the camp.

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The camp was surrounded by a barbed wire fence, small towers with machine guns and shacks for the SS.

Jews formed about one-third of the inmates, the percentage increasing to 40% by the end of the war, and were the worst treated, though all inmates suffered great hardships. The other inmates included Russians, Poles, Czechoslovaks, and Romani, as well as German and Austrian political prisoners and criminals.

The Mauthausen commandant Franz Ziereis sent his most capable and vicious man to head the camp, Georg Bachmayer.

After establishing his rule, he once again returned to Mauthausen and left the camp under the command of an Obersturmfûhrer who proved to be totally deranged. The combination of these two became a reign of terror.

One of their favourite methods of torture was to tie a prisoner´s arms behind him, with the hands side by side and thumb to thumb and then suspend him from a tree about eighteen inches off the ground. Bachmayer would then let his favourite dog, an Alsation called “Lord”, loose. The prisoner would be left in this unspeakable torture to die a slow and agonizing death.

In early 1944 a new commandant was appointed in Ebensee, Obersturmfûhrer Otto Riemer. During his period the conditions deteriorated even further. He personally beat, shot and tortured prisoners daily. He openly offered extra cigarettes and leave to those sentries who could account for the largest number of deaths. If a sentry at the end of a day had not a sufficient number to his credit, he would knock off the cap of a prisoner and throw it into a forbidden area. When the prisoner went to retrieve it, he would be shot dead.

The Commandant Otto Riemer (born May 19, 1897, date of death unknown) was a Nazi, a crew member of the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp, and SS-Obersturmführer. Unfortunately, his fate is unknown.Another SS man was Alfons Bentele, who died in a French prison.

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As the Second World War in Europe came to an end, mass evacuations from other camps put tremendous pressure on the Mauthausen complex, the last remaining concentration camp in the area still controlled by the Nazis. The 25 Ebensee barracks had been designed to hold 100 prisoners each, but they eventually held as many as 750 each. To this number must be added the prisoners being kept in the tunnels or outdoors under the open sky.

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The crematorium was unable to keep pace with the deaths and naked bodies were stacked outside the barrack blocks and the crematorium itself. In the closing weeks of the war, the death rate exceeded 350 a day. To reduce congestion, a ditch was dug outside the camp and bodies were flung into quicklime. On a single day in April 1945, a record 80 bodies were removed from Block 23 alone; in this pile, feet were seen to be twitching. During this period, the inmate strength reached a high of 18,000.

In May 1945, shooting in the distance could be heard from inside the camp and there was a sense among prisoners that American and British forces were close at hand. On May 4, 1945, the commandant of the camp informed prisoners that they had been sold to the Americans and that they should seek shelter in the camp’s underground tunnels for protection. Prisoners refused and remained in their barracks; hours later some of the tunnels exploded, reputedly due to the detonation of mines. On May 5, 1945, prisoners awoke to find that the SS had deserted Ebensee and that only elderly Germans armed with rifles were guarding the camp.

American troops of the US 80th Infantry Division arrived at the camp on May 6, 1945 – though for many inmates liberation came too late and they died of hunger, disease and exhaustion despite the efforts of American doctors to save them.

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Romanian-born Hermann Kahan was plucked alive from a pile of corpses, surviving to become a businessman in Norway.

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Holocaust survivor and author Moshe Ha-Elion recalls that when the camp was liberated, the Polish inmates were singing the Polish hymn, the Greek inmates were singing the Greek hymn and the French inmates were singing La Marseillaise. After, the Jews inmates were singing Ha Tikvah.

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Around May 19, 1945 Bachmayer commited suicide after first shooting his family.

 

Operation Vengeance-Revenge for Pearl Harbor.

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Admiral Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, was the Harvard-educated, poker-playing mastermind of the December 7, 1941, attack.

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On April 14, 1943, naval intelligence scored another code-breaking coup. The message began: “On April 18 CINC Combined Fleet will visit RXZ, R–, and RXP in accordance with the following schedule . . .” Adm. Isokoru Yamamoto was planning an inspection visit of Japanese bases in the upper Solomon Islands. The information immediately went from Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitznimitz

to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox who delivered the news to President Franklin Roosevelt. Reportedly, the president’s response was, “Get Yamamoto.” Regardless of whether or not the president actually said those words, the order was given: kill the mastermind of the Pearl Harbor raid.

 

 

 

 

As Yamamoto was viewed as the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt instructed Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox to give the mission the highest priority.

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Consulting with Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, Commander South Pacific Forces and South Pacific Area, Nimitz ordered planning to move forward. Based on the intercepted information, it was known that on April 18 Yamamoto would be flying from Rabaul, New Britain to Ballale Airfield on an island near Bougainville.

Though only 400 miles from Allied bases on Guadalcanal, the distance presented a problem as American aircraft would need to fly a 600-mile roundabout course to the intercept to avoid detection, making the total flight 1,000 miles. This precluded the use of the Navy and Marine Corps’ F4F Wildcats or F4U Corsairs. As a result, the mission was assigned to the US Army’s 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, Thirteenth Air Force which flew P-38G Lightnings. Equipped with two drop tanks, the P-38G was capable of reaching Bougainville, executing the mission, and returning to base.

Overseen by the squadron’s commander, Major John W. Mitchell,

 

53742e57bbc2cb8e4cb1078991ee8d12planning moved forward with the assistance of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Luther S. Moore. At Mitchell’s request, Moore had the 339th’s aircraft fitted with ship’s compasses to aid in navigation. Utilizing the departure and arrival times contained in the intercepted message, Mitchell devised a precise flight plan that called for his fighters to intercept Yamamoto’s flight at 9:35 AM as it began its descent to Ballale.

Knowing that Yamamoto’s aircraft was to be escorted by six A6M Zero fighters, Mitchell intended to use eighteen aircraft for the mission.mitsubishi-a6m-type-0-zero-fighter-01While four aircraft were tasked as the “killer” group, the remainder was to climb to 18,000 feet to serve as top cover to deal with enemy fighters arriving on scene after the attack. Though the mission was to be conducted by the 339th, ten of the pilots were drawn from other squadrons in the 347th Fighter Group. Briefing his men, Mitchell provided a cover story that the intelligence had been provided by a coastwatcher who saw a high ranking officer boarding an aircraft in Rabaul.

Departing Guadalcanal at 7:25 AM on April 18, Mitchell quickly lost two aircraft from his killer group due to mechanical issues. Replacing them from his cover group, he led the squadron west out over the water before turning north towards Bougainville.

Flying at no higher than 50 feet and in radio silence to avoid detection, the 339th arrived at the intercept point a minute early. Earlier that morning, despite the warnings of local commanders who feared an ambush, Yamamoto’s flight departed Rabaul. Proceeding over Bougainville, his G4M “Betty” and that of his chief of staff, were covered by two groups of three Zeros

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Mitchell’s flight of four led the squadron at low altitude, with the killer flight, now consisting of Lanphier, Barber, and spares 1st Lt. Besby F. Holmes and 1st Lt. Raymond K. Hine, immediately behind. Mitchell, fighting off drowsiness, navigated by flight plan and dead reckoning. This proved to be the longest fighter-intercept mission of the war and was so skillfully executed by Mitchell that his force arrived at the intercept point one minute early, at 09:34, just as Yamamoto’s aircraft descended into view in a light haze. The P-38s jettisoned the auxiliary tanks, turned to the right to parallel the bombers, and began a full power climb to intercept them.

The tanks on Holmes’s P-38 did not detach and his element turned back toward the sea. Mitchell radioed Lanphier and Barber to engage, and they climbed toward the eight aircraft. The nearest escort fighters dropped their own tanks and dived toward the pair of P-38s. Lanphier, in a sound tactical move, immediately turned head-on and climbed towards the escorts while Barber chased the diving bomber transports. Barber banked steeply to turn in behind the bombers and momentarily lost sight of them, but when he regained contact, he was immediately behind one and began firing into its right engine, rear fuselage, and empennage. When Barber hit its left engine, the bomber began to trail heavy black smoke. The Betty rolled violently to the left and Barber narrowly avoided a mid-air collision. Looking back, he saw a column of black smoke and assumed the Betty had crashed into the jungle. Barber headed towards the coast at treetop level, searching for the second bomber, not knowing which one carried the targeted high-ranking officer.

 Barber spotted the second bomber, carrying Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki and part of Yamamoto’s staff, low over the water off Moila Point, trying to evade an attack by Holmes, whose wing tanks had finally come off. Holmes damaged the right engine of the Betty, which emitted a white vapor trail, but his closure speed carried him and his wingman Hine past the damaged bomber. Barber attacked the crippled bomber and his bullet strikes caused it to shed metal debris that damaged his own aircraft. The bomber descended and crash-landed in the water. Ugaki and two others survived the crash and were later rescued. Barber, Holmes and Hine were attacked by Zeros, Barber’s P-38 receiving 104 hits. Holmes and Barber each claimed a Zero shot down during this melee, although Japanese records show that no Zeros were lost. The top cover briefly engaged reacting Zeros without making any kills. Mitchell observed the column of smoke from Yamamoto’s crashed bomber. Hine’s P-38 had disappeared by this point, presumably crashed into the water.
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Running close to minimum fuel levels for return to base, the P-38s broke off contact, with Holmes so short of fuel that he was forced to land in the Russell Islands. Hine was the only pilot who did not return. Lanphier’s actions during the battle are unclear as his account was later disputed by other participants, including the Japanese fighter pilots. As he approached Henderson Field, Lanphier radioed the fighter director on Guadalcanal that “That son of a bitch will not be dictating any peace terms in the White House”, breaching security. Immediately on landing (his plane was so short on fuel that one engine quit during the landing rollout) he put in a claim for shooting down Yamamoto.

A success, Operation Vengeance saw the American fighters down both Japanese bombers, killing 19, including Yamamoto. In exchange, the 339th lost Hines and one aircraft. Searching the jungle, the Japanese found Yamamoto’s body near the crash site. Thrown clear of the wreckage, he had been hit twice in the fighting.

Lieutenant Hamasuna noted Yamamoto had been thrown clear of the plane’s wreckage, his white-gloved hand grasping the hilt of his katana sword, his body still upright in his seat under a tree. Hamasuna said Yamamoto was instantly recognizable, his head tilted down as if deep in thought. A post-mortem of Yamamoto’s body indicated two bullet wounds, one to the back of his left shoulder, and a separate bullet wound to his left lower jaw, that appeared to exit above his right eye. The Japanese navy doctor examining Yamamoto’s body determined the head wound killed Yamamoto. (These more violent details of Yamamoto’s death were hidden from the Japanese public, and the medical report whitewashed, this secrecy “on orders from above.

Cremated at nearby Buin, his ashes were returned to Japan aboard the battleship Musashi.

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He was replaced by Admiral Mineichi Koga.

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Several controversies quickly brewed following the mission. Despite the security attached to the mission and the Magic program, operational details soon leaked out. This began with Lanphier announcing upon landing that “I got Yamamoto!” This breach of security led to a second controversy over who actually shot down Yamamoto. Lanphier claimed that after engaging the fighters he banked around and shot a wing off the lead Betty. This led to an initial belief that three bombers had been downed. Though given credit, other members of the 339th were skeptical.

Though Mitchell and the members of the killer group were initially recommended for the Medal of Honor, this was downgraded to the Navy Cross in the wake of the security issues. Debate continued over credit for the kill. When it was ascertained that only two bombers were downed, Lanphier and Barber were each given half kills for Yamamoto’s plane. Though Lanphier later claimed full credit in an unpublished manuscript, the testimony of the lone Japanese survivor of the battle and the work of other scholars supports Barber’s claim.